An Oldie But Goodie:
As a child I loved AEsop’s Fables and recently I was reminded of this oft told tale, especially to the young, yet it stuck me how potent and useful a reminder it can be to us all.
I am not sure how much truth there is in who told the story, and to whom, and in fact why should this matter, like all ‘fables’ it is a succinct story that can remain in our psyche, and benefit ourselves and those around us.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, …….. ”The one you feed.”
In this straightforward phrase lies so much wisdom. It refers to our thoughts, our actions, our beliefs. It puts the power firmly where it belongs …. on ourselves. It shows us that we are not passive by-standers of our lives. It illustrates that feeding the “evil wolf” within us is a choice, it is not something that is done to us. By accepting that we all have these two battling forces [ energies] within us it shows us we get to choose the “good wolf” whenever we want.
It’s a visual reminder, a moment to stop, 🚫 as we hear, at times, words of the “evil wolf” coming from our lips.
If we can summon up a truly vivid picture of a dark wolf, fangs drawn, hair on end, then maybe we can stop feeding him and instead give a sumptuous feast to his opposite, the one who can feed our soul.
What the fable is holding for us is that our truth is of our making. And that if we ‘feed’ our head, our hearts and our instincts with the negative, hostile words, actions and thoughts of the ‘evil wolf’ then our lives will reflect this. We will have fewer happier contented times, we will feel power-less rather than empowered, our relationships will be less stable, more fractious, less fulfilling. Our actions will be misread, we will feel less trusted, more volatile, less secure and satisfied.
Contrast this with a conscious effort to feed the “good wolf” of the tale. We will have enriched our lives, we will feel the respect and gratitude of those we work and live with. We will have made a positive difference in others’ lives and in turn this will have given us a sense of fulfillment, of genuine personal control and contentedness. We will have stopped giving our power away by looking to others to blame and accuse.
At the end of the day all this may require is a few moments of quiet reflection …
which wolf did I feed and sustain today?
I doubt there will ever be a time that any of us can eradicate and starve the ‘evil wolf’ to death. He can survive on the slimmest of pickings. But survival is a long way from thriving and if we commit daily to feeding the ‘good wolf’ the tastiest of meals as often as we can then for sure our lives and those we interact with will all benefit and flourish.